Monday, June 11, 2007

No Pepper in the Salt of the PCA!


As I plan to leave for another General Assembly of the PCA, I am reminded of the horror I experienced last year when I walked into the convention hall for the first time. Out of the 1800 or so commissioners on the floor of GA, you could literally count the number of African-American ministers in the denomination.

Now that Redeemer has one of the thirty-three Blacks in the denomination (Rev. Mark Robinson), I have found myself growing more sensitive to this issue. I am looking forward to seeing old friends; I am looking forward to debating the FV/NPP issue; I am NOT, however, looking forward to seeing the lack of diversity in this denomination once again! Therefore, it is my opinion that the PCA has to make a concerted effort to recruit Black ministers in the denomination and get FAR beyond the number 33! Or to put it bluntly: 33 African-American ministers out of roughly 2000 is something we should all be ashamed of! Talk about inequity!

4 comments:

Chris Hutchinson said...

Utterly agreed. At this year's Twin Lakes Fellowship, Lig Duncan interviewed several of our African American brothers. What sharp men!

BTW, one of our African American ministers was on the '86 Duke Basketball Team that went 37-3 (Weldon Williams).

Too bad we can't steal Thabiti Anyabwile from the Baptists!

And while we're on it, how we doing on PR ministers?

Chris H.

William said...

Sir,

Covenant Radio will be discussing this issue on June 28, 2007 with Pastor Sam Murrell of Baltimore, MD.

David said...

Matthew,

Thank you for reminding us of this problem. I'm a bit curious what you mean by calling the PCA to make a concerted effort to recruit black ministers.

The problem seems deep rooted to me. The lack of Black pastors is pretty representative of the lack of black congregants, and I'm rather skeptical about the notion that we can address this problem on a "top down" basis.

In this sense, the lack of black pastors is a sign of the larger problem that we have not chosen to try and disciple the entire neighborhoods in which our churches exist. We have been content to grow by adding those who are "attracted" to our fellowships - rather than aggressively seeking to bring people from every social and economic group into our life together as a church family. In the long run, the way that we will get more minority pastors is by bringing more minorities into our local churches.

At least two other steps can be taken to speed up this process, so that we don't put this off until the next generation:

1. We should make a concerted effort to ensure that our RUF ministries are self-consciously seeking to reach minorities. Many people either become Christians in college or become Reformed in college - this is a great time to impact people who may be ready for seminary in just a few years.

2. We should ensure that there is sufficient scholarship money to assist men going to seminary. One truth, that is seldom told, is that one of the biggest barriers to ordination is being able to pay for seminary. This is a barrier we should erase for white students as well.

Your brother in Christ,

David

Matthew Paul Buccheri said...

David,

Thanks for your comment. Just a few quick thoughts: (1) I'd I agree with you that the PCA needs to be proactive with a grassroot recruitment movement. That (2) can begin by seeing that RUF begins to penetrate schools such as Howard and others. Moreover, the handful of Black lay-leaders already in out midst should be focused on and equipped to "go out." I don't believe that a "top down" approach is wrong or bad, however. I do believe that both grassroots and top-down need to happen together.